Shoot the Breeze: Brian Salatino

I met Brian Salatino in LA a few years ago with some friends. He took us to a fancy gated community where he worked as a gardener. We got stoned and swam in the pool while he worked. Brian has spent the last 7 years living in Japan, and works as a translator there. He started taking photos while bird watching, and has since come to shoot campaigns for brands like Wilderness Experience. I like his photos of his girlfriend and the Sierra Nevada most. – CM


1. Why do you take photos?
When I was a kid my neighbors were this older couple. The woman died when I was like 13 and after that the man started clearing some stuff out. He gave me his old Olympus OM2 from his younger days as a photojournalist in NYC. We kinda hit it off and he started taking me bird watching with him- he was a hardcore birdwatcher. We’d call up this number on the phone that gave a daily report of bird sightings and migrations and when a rare one came through we’d go try to spot it and photograph it. That’s where the interest in photographing things started.

2. Do you carry your camera with you everywhere you go?
Not everywhere.

3. What celebrity would you like to shoot most?
Stephen Hawking

4. What animal would you like to be, if not a human?
Orca whale

5. What is your favorite smell?
That’s so hard to decide because I feel like I don’t really have memories of smells, I would only know if I smelled it in the moment. We need a camera for smells.

6. Would you like to live forever?
Not forever because I’m curious about what happens next, but it would be cool to live to be like 900 years old or something.

7. What do you think is the best photo you have ever taken to date?
I took a photo of my friend doing a backflip off a cliff into the ocean. It came out pretty nice.

8. What’s your favorite pastime?
Being outdoors doing something fun and not thinking about society. Or smoking weed with friends. Or both at the same time.

9. Do you like having your photo taken?
Yeah. But not in a commercial setting. I live in Tokyo and white boys like me are always getting recruited for fashion magazine photo shoots, but almost without exception it is a pretty lame experience. The photographers are usually really boring. I haven’t done it in awhile though, I guess I’m too old now.

10. Who are your favorite photographers, currently?
Roe Ethridge, Chris Buck, Taryn Simon, Bobby Doherty, Alex Prager, Peter Martin.